Director, Hogwarts Writing Center

I got to do some fun stuff in my six-plus years in the YVCC Writing Center. I came up with this letter from Minerva McGonagall to our director, Dodie Forrest, back in November 2005. A group of us from the center were planning on seeing Goblet of Fire the day it came out and we were trying to get Dodie to join us (which is why this letter includes an encouragement that she read at least one of the books first). Dodie wasn’t able to join us, but she got a good laugh at this letter.  I think I made McGonagall sound sufficiently stern and down-to-business!

Hogwarts School

of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Professor Minerva McGonagall

Deputy Headmistress   

Ms Dodie Forrest
Tiny office around the corner from the receptionist
Department of English and Speech, Anthon Hall
Yakima Valley Community College
Yakima, Washington, USA 

Dear Ms Forrest: 

In confirmation of our earlier conversation, it is a pleasure to offer you the position of Director, Hogwarts Writing Center.  You will report directly to myself. 

Your annual salary will be 17,744 galleons, 12 sickles, 9 knuts. 

All muggle hires to Hogwarts are required either to read Hogwarts: A History or to read any of the books about Hogwarts by fellow muggle Joanne Rowling.  Since the time before your appointment is short, you may also fulfill this requirement by watching one of the Harry Potter movies out now. 

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an owl. We are looking forward to having you join the magical community and the staff of Hogwarts. 

Minerva McGonagall

UPDATE August 2, 2007: I just found the emails around this letter!

I wrote Dodie (this was November 18, 2005):

You’ve just received an owl from Hogwarts (which I’ve attached)!  I think the owl was aiming for Anthon Hall, but something put it off course.  It hit the window and Judy had to go out and revive it while I retrieved the letter from its claws! 
Let us know what it says! Let us know what it says!!

Dodie responded with:

Ha!  I think I’m scared.

This Minerva McGonagall sounds freaky.  I have no idea what galleons or knuts are, so I can’t tell if the salary would be worth relocating to start a new job.  I mean, how can I even THINK of leaving all of YOU!

I hope the little owl is okay.  Laura, you’re ever so much the Hogwarts expert, what would you advise?


I answered:

Well, even if you don’t decide to accept, congratulations!  What an honor!

Jeremy and I estimate that 1 gold galleon is worth approximately 3 British pounds.  Therefore your 17,744 galleons equals about 53,232 dollars.  Of course, then you have to buy a new wardrobe (robe, pointy hat, etc), so you have to consider your added expenses.

Well, I’d suggest coming to the movie with us this afternoon!  It may help you decide!  We’re going to the 4:00p showing at The Majestic in Union Gap.  If you’d like to come, let us know and we’ll tell Andrea to buy you a ticket.  As of right now, there’s six of us (seven if you come).  Come!  It’ll be very fun.


Dodie answered:

Oooh.  Your translation makes me realize what a tempting offer this really is, especially the wardrobe change.  I might like a pointy hat, and I KNOW I’d love wearing a robe to class.  (I sometimes wish I could just leave on my ratty old bathrobe in the mornings and wear it to work.)  I don’t know what kind of students I’d have to work with, though.  Do they really want to learn?  Do they care about their craft?  Will they be respectful, analytical, curious about the world of muggles at large, and willing to work hard?  (Hmm . . . come to think of it, I might ask myself the same questions about the students HERE.)

I just realized that Andrea must be buying tickets in advance because the movie might sell out.  Do you think if I tried to buy a ticket closer to show time, they will be gone?  I hope I can get my tire fixed quickly!


Fun stuff, fun stuff… Good times, good times…


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